Summer is in full swing which means there’s a fresh crop of blockbusters to catch in theaters. But if you’d prefer to stay home to avoid the heat (and crowds), it’s never a bad idea to flip over to Netflix and catch up on some of the older films you might have missed. After all, there are plenty of great ones about to leave the streaming service. From an incredibly underrated horror sequel, to a pair of Tom Hanks classics, to one of the most beloved holiday movies of all time, here are seven notable films to catch before they leave Netflix this month.
Leaving on: July 1
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Aaron Sorkin (based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Brenda Song
Who would’ve thought that a movie about Facebook could work so well, let alone work at all? The Social Network follows Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), the circumstances that led to his creation of Facebook, and the lawsuits that soon followed. The performances here are all spot-on, and the film greatly benefits from Aaron Sorkin‘s sizzling screenplay, David Fincher‘s confident direction, and a haunting score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. In terms of dramatic biopics, The Social Network is one of the best at turning what could’ve easily been an uninspired cash grab into captivating cinema.
Leaving on: July 11
Director: Johannes Roberts
Writers: Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai
Cast: Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman, Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Damian Maffei
The Strangers was an audience and critic favorite when it was released in 2008. A sequel was in development for years before Prey at Night was finally released in 2018. And not only is it just as good as the original, it’s better. The original’s masked killers are back, though they’re now terrorizing the unwitting occupants of a secluded trailer park. The film is beautifully directed by Johannes Roberts and features relentless action that is paced to perfection. Whereas the first film was more firmly planted in psychological horror, Prey at Night is a tribute to slasher films, particularly those of the 1980s. In fact, the 80s vibe is part of what gives the film its unique flavor. It features a spooky atmosphere, plenty of neon lighting, and a fantastic John Carpenter-esque soundtrack (a sequence that takes place in a swimming pool is especially memorable). It’s best to go in blind here, so refrain from reading reviews or spoilers. Oh, and make sure to lock your front door.
Leaving on: July 19
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Cast: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, and Miranda Otto
If you saw the first Annabelle and wished you knew the spooky doll’s origin story, chances are that you’ll be more than pleased with the second installment in the franchise. While the first film was a prequel to The Conjuring, Annabelle: Creation goes back even further to quite literally explore Annabelle’s creation by dollmaker Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) who are plagued by horrors at their remote farmhouse after the death of their young daughter, Annabelle. The film’s scares are largely successful since the characters in peril this time around are mainly children, and Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson more than pull their weight in carrying the bulk of the film. It’s not the scariest entry in the franchise, but another trip into The Conjuring universe is never a bad thing.
Leaving on: July 23
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Director Quentin Tarantino writes a love letter to Spaghetti Westerns in Django Unchained, the story of Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, who teams up with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to track down Django’s wife as well as a group of outlaws. In true Tarantino style, Django Unchained features crackling dialogue and heavily stylized action sequences in a similar vein to Inglourious Basterds. The performances are solid, especially Leonardo DiCaprio in one of his best roles as villainous plantation owner Calvin Candie. A historically accurate film this is not, but the killer screenplay, performances, and over-the-top action make it a lot of fun.
Leaving on: July 31
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Eric Roth (based on the book of the same name by Winston Groom)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Sally Field, Michael Conner Humphreys, Hanna R. Hall
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more lovable character than Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks plays the titular role, a kind and goodhearted man from Alabama who doesn’t allow his intellectual disability to affect the fullness of his life. Forrest Gump is unique in that it’s an amalgamation of genres — comedy, rom-com, war story, and more. It’s this blend of genres that gives the film its unique flavor and also allows Forrest to grow into an incredibly three-dimensional character. While the humor, fun, and laughs come from Forrest’s travels and experiences in unwittingly influencing several key moments in U.S. history, the beating heart of the film is his relationship with childhood friend Jenny (Robin Wright). Their connection runs the gamut from innocent and sweet to complicated and sad as Forrest and Jenny continue cross paths over the course of their very different lives. If you’re looking for a film that’s equal parts comedic, uplifting, and heartstring-pulling, you might not find a better one than Forrest Gump.
Leaving on: July 31
Director: Nora Ephron
Writers: Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron (based on the play Parfumerie by Miklós László)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Dave Chappelle
If you’re looking for more Tom Hanks after Forrest Gump, You’ve Got Mail might make for the perfect double feature. The film features rival bookstore owners Joe (Hanks) and Kathleen (Meg Ryan) who strike up an online romance, completely unaware of their competing business endeavors. The film has been praised for its rom-com elements as well as the strong chemistry between leads Hanks and Ryan. While the concept of dial-up Internet and chat rooms might be a bit outdated, the film’s themes of the joys (and dangers) of human connection remain relevant today.
Leaving on: July 31
Director: Richard Curtis
Writer: Richard Curtis
Cast: Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth
It’s safe to say that Love, Actually is one of the most beloved, feel-good holiday films of all time. The British romantic comedy features a number of intersecting stories of love and loss (and lots of Bill Nighy singing), all set during the Christmas season. Most of the film’s charm comes from its ensemble cast, and it’s especially fun to see so many A-listers sharing the screen. Whether in the ridiculousness of Nighy’s antics as rock and roll star Billy Mack, or the more heartstring-pulling story of Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Mark (Andrew Lincoln), Love Actually has something for everyone. And if you’re one of its many die-hard fans, you won’t have any issue watching it in the middle of July.